Over the recent decades, there has been an increased number of people joining social media platforms- thanks to the improved technological developments. As more people get connected online, the interest is also extending to businesses and organizations. Most businesses are starting to realize the opportunities that come along the increased social media usage. For instance, they can market themselves to targeted communities or engage in brand awareness, among other initiatives. Nonetheless, as businesses lead their employees towards increased social media activities, there should be proper guidance on responsible social media usage. Therefore, employees should develop a comprehensive social media policy that guides on best social media practices for employees and senior staff
What is a Social Media Policy
Social media policy simply refers to a policy document that shows how your employee should handle employment matters on social media platforms. In other words, it provides an illustration of how employees should use social media in a manner that doesn’t compromise the company’s interests. For example, there is some confidential information that, if shared online, could affect the company’s image and reputation. A social media policy gives a directive on which files to share and which ones are prohibited.
Importance of social media policy
In the current age, social media takes a significant share when it comes to business success. This means that it’s a concern every employer should worry about should they want their businesses to run successfully. Generally, a social media policy will help your business in the following ways:
- Create and maintain a positive brand identity online
- Prevent any security breach
- Improve awareness on legal and regulatory guidelines
- Prevent PR crisis from happening
- Improve employee awareness on responsible social media usage
- Encourage employees to own and advertise your company brand.
What to Include in a Social Media Policy
When writing a social media policy, there is some vital information that should be captured.
Your team’s role
The employer should clearly assign individual roles to employees, especially those handling social media platforms on behalf of the company. The employees’ names, email, and addresses should be published to ensure accountability and order. Also, you need to select employees who will speak for your brand on the media platforms.
The security protocols
Social media is often full of cyberattacks and insecurities. Therefore, stringent measures should be put in place to ensure you can detect and handle any potential security threat. Alongside that, you need to ensure your team has secured account passwords that are changed often. Also, security software such as antiviruses should be updated regularly. When it comes to security issues, nothing should be left on the chance!
Policy to stay tractable with law
Depending on the state or country in which you operate, it’s always important that you adhere to the laws regulating social media. With that in mind, you need to seek legal advice from your company lawyer or any other attorney to ensure you comply with the regulations.
Here are some sensitive issues you need to touch on with your legal counsel:
Let your lawyer advice you on how to handle copyright issues when they arise due to social media usage, more so when using third-party content.
The company should ensure its private and confidential information isn’t leaked on social media. Again, your legal team will advise you on how employees should handle such information and what to do in case of a leak.
Confidentiality is often paramount to all employees. Whether you signed a non-disclosure agreement or not, you should always uphold confidential information at all costs. The employer should inform the employees of the ramifications that will follow should they use confidential information on social media without authorization.
Encouragement for employees
Your employees should be encouraged to market your brand by engaging in positive conversations about the company. The social media spokespeople should be equipped with prompt responses about your company should potential clients ask them. Also, they should state disclaimers stating their relationship with the organization.
Writing a Professional Social Media Policy
With the increasing use and social media engagement in the employment sector, every employer should consider writing a considerate social media policy.
If you desire to write a professional policy, the following guide will help you through:
Before anything else, you need to first introduce your company by name, address, core values, and objectives. Still, in the introduction, you need to state the policy and the guidelines and protocols it seeks to serve.
Purpose of policy
After introducing your company and the policy, you need to state its purpose. In other words, you need to outline the purpose(s) you intend to achieve with the policy. Secondly, you can define the rules that apply to social media’s corporate and personal use. Also, you need to make the employees aware of the disciplinary action that will follow in case of a violation.
Here, you will mention all the parties that the policy will apply to. More often, the policy does target all company employees. This includes interns, contractors, part-timers, and full-time workers.
The employees termed as ‘spokespeople’ are often tasked with spreading the company image on social media platforms. They are therefore expected to speak and act in line with the company’s image, core values, and brand. What’s more, they should be professional when handling clients, partners, suppliers, and any other associated stakeholders.
When tasked with social media or marketing managerial roles, you need to be aware of all the company operations and calendar of events. That’s said, you should adhere to the social media guidelines stated by the company/organization. For instance, you shouldn’t post any irrelevant, offensive, or misleading postings. Also, you need to provide quick and timely responses to client queries and comments.
The social media policy should also be flexible to employees. It should allow the employees to access their personal social media accounts, at least for some limited time. However, employees should only access their personal accounts after meeting job deadlines and other responsibilities.
Other restrictions on using personal accounts at work include:
- Adhering to financial disclosure laws
- Avoiding posting intellectual property and confidential information
- Avoiding any discussions on company-related information with customers online.
Furthermore, the employees should post their personal opinions and contents on private accounts.
In this section, you will mention the possible disciplinary action that will be taken should an employee fail to observe the guidelines and regulations. Some of the common violations to avoid include:
- Posting corporate information on social media
- Posting inappropriate content on social media
- Using offensive language when replying to comments or questions
- Posting inaccurate information or personal opinions on corporate accounts
NB, depending on the severity of the offense, the management will first investigate the issue and issue an appropriate disciplinary action either in the form of a warning, suspension, or termination.
Writing a social media policy is always time-consuming and sometimes difficult. Luckily, we have made the whole process easier and convenient for you by creating easy-to-fill templates. The better part of this is that we provide templates free of charge. Please feel free to download them.
Since the use of social media is still on the rise, only 29% of companies do have a social media policy. However, with the ever-growing interest in social media use, more and more companies are implementing the policy to safeguard their interest.
Usually, the employer has the right and the power to fire any employee involved in misconduct. This includes posting content that is against the standards or policies of a company.
The introduction of social media has provided numerous opportunities for organizations/companies to exploit. In the recent past, reports indicate that most businesses have benefited greatly after building their online presence. However, it is important that you regulate your employees’ online presence by implementing social media policy.